Audrey Stone (@audrey_stone_studio) creates ‘sewn paintings’ with bold colours and thoughtful compositions. The physicality of her work, as well as the narrative behind them, really intrigues me and she speaks so thoughtfully about her process, intentions and the way the viewer might perceive the work.
How do your approach colour? Or, how do you arrive at your colour choices for a particular piece?
When I start a new piece, sometimes the form precedes the color and other times it is an idea about color that comes first. I might know I want to move from one particular color to another and moving between the two is the thing that creates an area of uncertainty and discovery. As in the painting Conversation With Self, I knew I wanted deep blue to occupy the majority of the surface space and to finish in the corner with a hot red. On the way to the red I was able to play with a variety of hues and tones related to the blue before moving into the red.
Sometimes it is a tension in the color transition I am interested in creating. Loud Sleep came as an idea of juxtaposing a deep palette with a pale one in paint and then joining them by weaving the two color palettes together with thread in the same palette ranges. The title of the piece emanates from a time when I was waking from what I called ‘loud sleep’, where my dreams were all noise without any imagery, creating a strange friction between sleeping and waking.
What have your explorations uncovered about the tension between craft and art?
My experience while painting and drawing versus sewing is subtle yet profound. To me, painting and drawing feel like building from scratch. There is nothing and then the applied marks and colors become the work. Paint unites to a surface and alters it while thread is a fabric line that becomes something else when applied. Thread is united with the surface but at the same time remains separate. While sewing I have a sense of repair in my action and there is a physical tension that thread creates. Paint has an optical tension from the color and surface applied. I use paint to obscure the surface of the canvas and thread to emphasize it.
These are subtle things that happen while making the work. I’m not sure the viewer feels them in looking at a finished work. It’s slow in the making and slow in the reading. I have noticed sometimes it’s only when I am speaking with a viewer do they notice the difference in materials, having mistaken thread for paint, it’s then a surprise for them. I love the surprise element, it was one of my original intentions when I combined thread and drawing that there be some confusion when it came to the line making and materials. So in that sense I hope to subvert the distinction between ‘craft’ and ‘art’.
The Being Mama series is where you begin your sewn paintings. What is the narrative behind the title of this particular series?
The sewn paintings developed after having worked on a series of grid drawings with combined sewing and drawings from 2007 – 2012. The drawings were very delicate and subtle and as the series progressed my interest and passion for color was deepening. I wanted the work to be bolder and I began thinking about how to combine the mediums of sewing and painting onto canvas and linen to heighten my color experience.
The “Being Mama” series title refers to the pulls, internal divisions and tensions of one’s self in the role of being a mother. The works in this series have always been divided into 4 sections, as a reference to the grid as well as a symbol of family (I have a family of four and grew up in one as well). Each quadrant has its own space but also fits with the others to create a whole. I do not assign the quadrants ‘personalities’ but am interested in the tension and balance created by their relationships.
What are three words that describe your artistic style?
Colorful, bold and subtle.
Find Audrey on Instagram:@audrey_stone_studio
See more of her work here.